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Making Joyful Noise At Make Music New York 2014

  • About 350 musicians and even more spectators gather on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday as part of Make Music New York. The music reverberated blocks away, around the entrance to Prospect Park, the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, and along some of the busiest thoroughfares in the borough.
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    About 350 musicians and even more spectators gather on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Saturday as part of Make Music New York. The music reverberated blocks away, around the entrance to Prospect Park, the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket, and along some of the busiest thoroughfares in the borough.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Dhol drummer and composer Sunny Jain wrote 100+ BPM for this occasion, bringing in the signature sounds that fuel his band Red Baraat — a riotous mix of Punjabi bhangra, funk and jazz.
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    Dhol drummer and composer Sunny Jain wrote 100+ BPM for this occasion, bringing in the signature sounds that fuel his band Red Baraat — a riotous mix of Punjabi bhangra, funk and jazz.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Tuba player and composer John Altieri serves as conductor for the premiere.
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    Tuba player and composer John Altieri serves as conductor for the premiere.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • The musicians are an incredible cross-section of the city's cultural life — of all ages, from all kinds of musical and cultural backgrounds, and ranging from amateurs and students to notable professional players.
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    The musicians are an incredible cross-section of the city's cultural life — of all ages, from all kinds of musical and cultural backgrounds, and ranging from amateurs and students to notable professional players.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Batala NYC, a group specializing in northeastern Brazilian drumming, dance as they play — and soon have all the musicians around them moving and grooving, too.
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    Batala NYC, a group specializing in northeastern Brazilian drumming, dance as they play — and soon have all the musicians around them moving and grooving, too.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Members of The Black and Gold Marching Elite, an after-school program that serves students from across New York City, also participate.
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    Members of The Black and Gold Marching Elite, an after-school program that serves students from across New York City, also participate.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • The drum lines for the New York Knicks, the New York Jets and the New York Giants join in the fun.
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    The drum lines for the New York Knicks, the New York Jets and the New York Giants join in the fun.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Spectators clamber up to get a better look at the musicians.
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    Spectators clamber up to get a better look at the musicians.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • Brooklyn's Royal Knights community marching band wear T-shirts honoring the memory of member Tanaya Copeland, an 18-year-old who was murdered last month.
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    Brooklyn's Royal Knights community marching band wear T-shirts honoring the memory of member Tanaya Copeland, an 18-year-old who was murdered last month.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • 100+ BPM was commissioned by NPR Music. In the month before the premiere, musicians downloaded the score from the websites of NPR Music, Make Music New York, Brooklyn Public Library and Red Baraat, and brought them along in flip books to the performance.
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    100+ BPM was commissioned by NPR Music. In the month before the premiere, musicians downloaded the score from the websites of NPR Music, Make Music New York, Brooklyn Public Library and Red Baraat, and brought them along in flip books to the performance.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR
  • All around during the rehearsal and performance, musicians grin blissfully — including dhol player Sunny Jain, the work's composer.
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    All around during the rehearsal and performance, musicians grin blissfully — including dhol player Sunny Jain, the work's composer.
    Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

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We put out a call and they came — by the hundreds. When we invited wind, brass and percussion players to join us yesterday in Brooklyn to perform a world premiere by Red Baraat's Sunny Jain for the annual Make Music New York festival, we were hoping that lots of different kinds of musicians would join us. And boy, did they ever.

On this absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon, about 350 musicians assembled on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library to play Jain's 100+ BPM. Young, older, professional drumlines, community marching bands, seasoned jazz players, Indian wedding band musicians, Brazilian samba drummers and scads of amateur players came out to play. It was just incredible.

If you want to see more of the action, check out lots of photos on our Flickr page and across Instagram, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr using the hashtag #npr100BPM. (And if you have more images or video to share, please use that hashtag! We're loving what we're seeing.)

We'll also be posting a full Field Recording video of the premiere in the coming days. Here's a sneak peek:

NPR Music/YouTube

In the meantime, I keep coming back to what one of the musicians said to me after the performance. I was chatting with saxophonist and composer Ken Thomson, a member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars who joined in the performance (and who, coincidentally, has been a friend of mine for nearly two decades). He remarked, "You know that moment when you finally realize that your jaw hurts because you've been genuinely smiling non-stop for hours? I have that right now." I did, too — and given all the positive energy, fantastic playing and beaming faces I witnessed yesterday afternoon, I'm pretty sure we weren't the only ones.

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